If you import or export goods to/from Australia or are associated with the movements of vessels or aircraft to Australia you should be aware of your responsibilities under Australian law.
Biosecurity Act 2015 (Biosecurity Act) commenced on
16 June 2016. It is co-administered by the Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Water Resources, and Health.
A strong biosecurity system helps protect our way of life from the threat of exotic pests and diseases to our unique environment, the economy, our health and our agricultural industries.
The risks posed by exotic pests and diseases are increasing due to growing international passenger and trade volumes, population expansion, the emergence of new pests and diseases and regional development.
Biosecurity Act 2015
strengthens and modernises our biosecurity system, making sure it is up to the challenges of the future. All primary legislation and subordinate biosecurity legislation can be found on the
Federal Register of Legislation
Read more about
how the Act is administered and its impact on specific industries and trade.
Primary legislation and regulations
The primary legislation that provides the legal powers for all of Australia’s biosecurity activities is the
Biosecurity Act 2015.
The Federal Register also features the
history of the amendments made to the Biosecurity Act.
There are two regulations made under the Act:
The Biosecurity (Human Health) Regulations 2016
(administered by the Department of Health).
Biosecurity Goods Determinations
There are five Goods Determinations that provide additional detail on imports under the
Biosecurity Act 2015.
Lists referenced in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations
These lists provide extra clarification on the Biosecurity Goods Determinations. They should be read together for a full understanding of legislative requirements.
Other lists related to import conditions
Instruments related to ballast water
Australia’s biosecurity legislation allows us to adapt to changing biosecurity risk. From time to time, we update import requirements to strengthen controls on goods where risk has increased, and reduce controls where it is no longer necessary.
Some goods can only be brought into Australia and its territories with import permits. However, where it is safe to do so, we allow importers to bring certain goods in without a permit if they meet alternative conditions for import. This benefits everyone – it saves importers time and money in applying for permits, and is easier for us to administer.
The Biosecurity Goods Determinations specifies whether import permits, or alternative conditions for import must be met to bring particular goods into Australia. On 25 July 2018, a variety of updates will be made to the Biosecurity Goods Determinations to support changes in biosecurity risk. These updates in some cases include a new requirement for an import permit and/or alternative conditions, and in others the removal of this requirement.
In addition, there are amendments being made to some lists referenced in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations. Lists referenced in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations are published on the Biosecurity legislation webpage.
These changes apply from 25 July 2018.
Legislative and related document changes
The following goods will no longer require an import permit:
- Permitted medicinal mushrooms in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid, injectable vials, ointments, and as an ingredient in food or beverage including tea bags
- Additional species of seed for sowing
- All dried herb products not for human consumption
- Myrtaceous species of timber and timber products
- Returning Australian goods derived from animal and microbial products (excluding live animals) with intact original Australian Government container seals
- Sawdust and woodchips in the following scenarios
- Commercially packaged sawdust for alcohol production
- Commercially packaged wood wool
- Commercially packaged wood shavings
- Commercially packaged wood chips equal to or less than 25mm by 25mm by 25 mm
- Commercially packaged Sawdust and woodchips treated using departmental approved methods of heat, gamma or ETO treatments.
The following ingredients no longer require an import permit for use in veterinary therapeutics and cosmetics for animals:
- Cyclosporin manufactured without using materials of terrestrial animal or avian origin
- Diethylaminoethyl (DEAE) Dextran manufactured without using materials of terrestrial animal or avian origin
- Carminic Acid
The following goods will require and import permit:
- All non-commercially packaged consignments of sawdust and woodchips
Further details about import requirements and alternative conditions for import are available in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations. This information is also available in the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
Key changes for external territories
- The only amendments that apply to imports into Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are for imports of biological material for certain purposes (Cyclosporin, Diethylaminoethyl and Carminic acid).
BICON, the department’s biosecurity import conditions system, does not include information about imports into Australia’s external territories. For more information about the key changes for these external Territories, email External Territories.
The Biosecurity Goods Determinations covering imports into Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Torres Strait are available at Biosecurity legislation.